No doubt you’ve heard of the “Streetcar Named Desire,” but what about a horsecar named Cherrelyn?
Perhaps the most photographed and fondly remembered horsecar line of the 19th century ran from 1883 to 1910 in Englewood, Colorado. Horses pulled passengers about one and a half miles uphill, and then the fun began. For the much faster trip downhill, the horse boarded the car via a wooden ramp, and rode back along with the passengers. You can get the flavor of this picturesque operation in the numerous images we have posted, the great majority of which are from the digital collections of the Denver Public Library.
The horses may be long gone, but the Cherrelyn horsecar itself has been preserved and restored, and is on display today in the Englewood Civic Center, model horse naturally included. We don’t know how much of it is actually original, since the period photos show it looking a bit of a beat-up wreck, and not the smooth, pristine car you see today.
The story goes that after retirement, the Cherrelyn horses would pull plows uphill, but not downhill. We don’t know if this story is true, but we would like to think so.
You can read more about horsecars here. You can also attend the March CERA program this Friday, where we will enjoy watching silent film comedies featuring horsecars. We hope to see you there.